Article: J.Crew’s sales have fallen. Now it’s trying a new, Madewell-esque look.

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    “The new J.Crew looks suspiciously like Madewell, its more successful little sister brand.”

    [This article]( published today about J.Crew’s newest looks. I’m interested to hear what you guys think about J.Crew’s future.



    Geez, this is dumb. I want them to go back to high-quality basics. I’m sick of $85 polyester sweaters.



    Ugh. I wish they would go back to their heritage preppy roots. Their new stuff seems very bland to me, plus it is all over-priced poly.

    I miss 2003-2008 J.Crew and all those glorious cable knit sweaters.



    I wonder how many people in their 20s and 30s *only* buy workwear at JCrew.

    I only go there for work-appropriate clothing: dress pants (which sucked for awhile because they went full hog with the skintight Pixies), Tippie sweaters, plain button-downs, cardigans and blazers. I am not interested in JCrew’s attempts at sequined t-shirts or tulle sweatshirts. But I do shop at Madewell for casual clothes. Why not embrace that differentiation? JCrew could be the destination for office-appropriate clothing and very plain casual basics that appeal to a conservative dresser (which they need to make high quality – “tissue tees” my ass). No more rhinestones, ruffles, and all the other ugly stuff that ends up on the clearance rack. Madewell can continue to be the more casual, trendier store.



    The problem is the brand has existed for so long, it barely has any identity anymore. Madewell has a strong identity. The girl who wears Madewell is cool but casual. She shops at the farmers market. Who wears J.Crew? I dunno. They need to stick to a really specific brand and then redo the designs of the stores to be a destination. Going into Madewell makes you feel some kinda way. Going into J.Crew makes me feel absolutely no kinda way.



    Imo this is even worse than what they’ve been doing. I know J Crew is still just another mall brand, but I don’t shop there for Gap-esque look at higher prices. I would just go to Gap!

    I also think their idea of trying to hook as many shoppers as possible is ridiculously flawed. I don’t really want to sift through the bohemian or Kate Moss lover items just to find my classic semi tailored fit sweater, which is the reason I’m at J Crew to begin with!

    Leave your cool casual young adult stuff at Madewell, let Anthro have the boho look, and get back to the well constructed classics that made you successful.




    While they’re at it, can Madewell take a cue from J. Crew and carry tall sizes in dresses?



    I think a lot of you would like Lands End. They still use mostly cotton in their sweaters.



    It’s amazing that Old Navy and Gap manage to sell good basics made of cotton, wool, and linen and pretty much only use Rayon for more blousy type items at such great prices. Meanwhile, JCrew hasn’t figured out that no one wants to buy their $95 scratchy polyester tank tops that literally look like two pieces of fabric stitched together with zero shape or darting.

    The only time I see polyester at ON or Gap is in their activeware and some of the realsoft garments. Gap/ON also have muted, on-trend colors and not crazy neons like JCrew which you can’t wear as often because everyone remembers your pink neon tippi sweater. And don’t even get me started on how JCrew manages to cut their garments in the most unflattering way possible. Their clothes don’t even look conservative or matronly, they just look ill-fitting once you try them on.



    I work at a J.Crew factory store and although it may be a different dynamic compared to the retail stores, the customers can’t be fooled. The company started this new “mercantile” brand that is heavily being pushed into the factory stores, while retail carries some mercantile pieces. The new mercantile clothes are made with lower quality, which is a big bummer because a lot of our year-round items got switched over to mercantile branding and it just isn’t the same. Customers have also been complaining that they aren’t into our new items/designs and also notice the change in quality.

    Anyway, that’s just what I witnessed from my factory store. I heard from my coworkers that J.Crew is now available at Nordstrom (idk how new or old this info is) and it’ll be on amazon as well which is very surprising. But I definitely believe that J.Crew should establish its own, solid identity and let Madewell be Madewell.



    As a former a sales associate for J.Crew, they are definitely going for the Madewell look now because Madewell is making good money while J.Crew been *struggling* the past 2 or so years.

    In addition to adopting a lot of the styles you’d see in Madewell, corporate is also trying to push this idea of the “New Crew” in an attempt to seem more inclusive when in reality they know that they’ve lost the customers that came to them for quality garments and are hoping that by casting a wider net, they can grab some more people. I’ve seen who works at corporate and believe me, that place looks like a straight up sorority with no concern for any real inclusion or diversity.

    As another associate in the thread mentioned, they are also trying to push the new “Mercantile” line which started because you can’t legally have a “Factory” store in a standard mall so they started opening “Mercantile” stores in malls so they could sell factory merchandise in lower income areas that wouldn’t buy from a regular J.Crew. Along with the rebranding of “Factory” items as “Mercantile”, they are starting to bring these items into regular J.Crew stores, but make no mistake these garments are undoubtably cheaper quality.

    TLDR J.Crew is drowning, but they know that they can’t sell on quality anymore so they’re cutting corners on the garments and trying to target a new market in a last-ditch attempt to stay afloat.



    Oh this is kind of interesting! I haven’t finished reading the whole article yet but I JUST saw maybe 3-4 days ago [an article in the WSJ]( (not the exact article, but similar I think) about how J. Crew was also going to start selling on Amazon too. Looks like J. Crew is doing some re-strategizing. I hope it works out for them!



    Frankly I love Madewell and almost never find anything good at J.Crew, so I feel like this is probably a good move, but I feel like it’s going to be redundant. I guess I also struggle with feeling like they should have kept doing their own thing, only… do it better than they have been lately.



    I just don’t understand how they are ignoring the requests of their customers and not going back to quality basics. If I wanted Madewell, I’d go to Madewell. I always loved JCrew for it’s quality. I have an older sweater from them that’s lasted years, now I can’t even get a season’s worth of use out of a JCrew item. Such a shame.



    I kind of blame Jenna Lyons for messing up J Crew.

    She created collections that suited her but not all that many other women.

    But the last time I was in there was before Christmas only to see really strange clothing. I strongly remember some kind of tutu with glitter things on it that didn’t belong at J Crew at all and a lot of things with frills in strange places.

    I think they need to stick to good fibers and fabrics with clean lines.



    Not impressed. I liked where JCrew was in the late 90s. It was preppy, solid quality but there was a wee bit of an edge so it didn’t venture into Land’s End blandness, but it did not get too trendy.

    Not sure what alternatives there are.



    Their sales have fallen because their clothes are shit quality for the price, not because there isn’t a market for women’s work wear. If they still haven’t figured that out, then they deserve to fail.



    I wish they’d go back to the high quality east coast prep basics that they used to be so good at.



    > At times, J.Crew taps into the city-wise, French Girl-inflected aesthetic of Madewell, J.Crew’s little sister brand. A low-cut floral blouse worn with high-waisted denim makes for very Madewellian styling, and sweaters that say “Merci Beaucoup” and “Je t’aime NYC” recall French slogan pieces from Madewell’s collaborations with the Paris-based brand Sézane.

    Wow, that’s exactly what I *don’t* like about Madewell

    But seriously, I just don’t want them to kill Madewell trying to save this dead horse. I was really troubled when they sapped Madewell’s chief design officer and shipped him off to Jcrew— I mean, don’t drain the talent from your one good brand trying to resurrect the husk of another shitty brand no one cares about anymore, let it the fuck go.



    I know everyone misses the “old J-Crew” but it’s clear their old way wasn’t sustainable or at least they didn’t go about marketing their company very well. It is VERY hard to provide high quality materials and be mass produced, fast fashion company.

    It’s also looks like they went about their products the wrong way. The started with high quality materials and moved to lower quality, lower the appeal of the entire brand, making them almost appear cheap. On the opposite end of the spectrum you have stores like Joe Fresh (for all my canadian friends out there) who started with lower quality reasonably priced basics and have slowed started to incorporate things like cashmere blended sweaters in small quantities, and it appears to be adding to their brand image. Different strategies, different results.



    Unpopular opinion, I guess, but I recently bought a few work basics for the first time in 3+ years from J.Crew, and so far I like them! I fully embraced the Jenna Lyons look in my mid-late 20s but had stepped away from them as it fell out of style.

    As a “winter,” I feel like you still just can’t beat J.Crew for colors – they’re the only place it seems where you can get truly vibrant jewel tones. And I still regularly wear my Tippi sweaters, No. 2 pencil skirts, cardigans, and silk-cotton popovers that I bought from them 5-7 years ago.

    I don’t bother with “Mercantile” or Factory anymore, but I am glad they’re bringing back some of those plain jane basics in the main line. Madewell is great in theory but nothing from there has ever properly fit me and I find most of it overpriced. It’s like a weird mix of boring and twee.



    “You can’t be one price. You can’t be one aesthetic. You can’t be one fit,”

    It’s true you can’t (or at least shouldn’t…) be one fit – but why not the other two? Shoppers might actually know what they’re getting.



    There are some things here I’d wear. The silk Blythe shirt, the Point Sur maxi and a few tops, and, well, tbh, I like the rugby shirtdress but I know I wouldn’t actually wear it.

    The pricing is odd — I think $198 for a wool blazer isn’t out of line, but $80 for a velvet tank top is.

    There are more things in my size! So I’m happy about that, though. I used to sort by size and find two bridesmaid dresses and a plain shirt, and now there are SIX PAGES of things that would actually fit me.



    I do a sweep every few months to see if a hot pink Tippi is on sale. No dice yet, and I’m not a huge fan of the new look, but I was thrilled to see that J.Crew is offering the Tippi in up to a 3X now, and a skirt I just looked at is offered in up to a size 24. That’s so exciting to see. I’ve been mostly sized out of J.Crew stuff (I fit into a Tippi XL fine enough, but 16-18 in pants/dresses) so it’s nice to see them move toward more inclusive sizing, even if the style isn’t really one I go for.



    I guess I’m not super familiar with how J.Crew changed over the years since I have very little from them (I used to find it too expensive as a university student). Looking at the new arrivals online though, they seem nice? I see classic looking sweaters, or classic with a twist, and some nice looking silk blouses. Is that a shift back to what they were known for, or was it even better before? Just curious because I don’t want to order things that look nice to me online if they are poor quality.

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